Many adults join the Adult Literacy program to improve their reading and writing skills by working one on one with a volunteer tutor. Improved literacy helps these adults obtain jobs, further their own education, or help their children with schoolwork. Many tutors and learners have observed a growing need for adult learners to also attain digital skills. Computer literacy is of vital importance in our modern world.
There are many benefits to being computer literate in the 21st century including:
More job opportunities –
A basic level of computer literacy is necessary to apply for a job and once employed, to communicate with supervisors and coworkers. At many jobs, a higher level of computer proficiency gives an employee an advantage.
Better communication –
A significant part of communication in the 21st century is done remotely over computer networks. Email is more convenient than traditional mail in many ways, and people who might otherwise never be able to speak to each other regularly exchange messages even though they may be on opposite sides of the world. Whether you are keeping in touch with old friends, teachers, medical professionals, or emailing your resume to employers, communication via the internet is vital in the modern age.
Access to up-to-date news and information sources –
In addition to local, national, and world news, the internet is a valuable source of practical information regarding community activities and resources, travel, health issues, medication side effects, restaurant menus, school calendars, driving directions, and more!
Being prepared for the future –
Although technology continues to change, what class participants learn and use now will provide a solid foundation of computer literacy skills that will serve them for years to come.
For these reasons, the Redlands Adult Literacy Program has offered computer literacy classes to its participants since 2015. Initially, the classes included three skill levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Intermediate 2. As adult learners became proficient with basic computer skills, they wanted to learn more. In response to these changing learner goals, the computer literacy classes have evolved to include literacy lessons, writing projects, and presentation opportunities.
Participants in the computer literacy classes have a wide range of goals, including finding a job, advancement in their current position, communicating with far away family, and having the skills necessary to start their own business.
One such learner is Sotheavy Chev. She began attending computer literacy classes in spring 2023, nearly 20 years after taking a typing class and learning basic Excel in her native Cambodia. She immediately felt comfortable in the welcoming and relaxed atmosphere of the class and liked that the participants were encouraged to ask questions at any time. Through one of the computer literacy classes, Sotheavy wrote a poem about oysters that was published in the adult literacy anthology, Our Stories, A Collection of Writings, Volume 6.
As a very busy mother of three young boys, Sotheavy appreciates the 90-minute length of the classes and shares: “Even though class is only an hour and a half per week, I am learning – slow and steady like the turtle in the story. Improving my computer skills has given me my confidence back, and I am happier. I enjoy being with the other people in computer class, and I like how we are asked what we want to learn next.” With her improved computer skills and increased confidence, Sotheavy is looking forward to furthering her education.
The Adult Literacy Program needs more volunteers to help adults improve their reading and writing skills. If you have any questions or would like to become an adult literacy volunteer, please contact Diane Shimota, Adult Literacy Coordinator, at 909.798.7565, ext. 4110, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know someone who needs literacy services, please ask them to contact Diane Shimota. All literacy services are free and confidential. Training, materials, and ongoing support are provided.
Kim Green contributed to this article.